In the latest statement, the Academy said that they “asked” Smith to leave and he refused. But according to Deadline, Smith was merely “suggested” to leave after slapping Rock for making a G.I. Jane joke about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s hair. Reportedly, Academy President David Robin and CEO Dawn Hudson talked to Smith’s rep about the possibility of him leaving the awards show. Reportedly, Smith said he wanted to stay to apologize to the audience.
Several outlets, including Deadline, Variety and TMZ, dispute the fact that Smith. was asked to leave and refused.
Another insider states that the Academy did, in fact, make a “firm ask” to Smith to leave. So the ultimate answer is that it’s still not clear what happened that night. Even less clear is what role producer Will Packer had in handling the incident.
Variety states, “sources close to the situation are refuting that the actor was ever formally urged to leave the show. It appears that in the chaos that surrounded the altercation, the Academy and the show’s producer sent mixed message[s] about whether Smith should be expelled from the event….That description of events doesn’t sit well with a few individuals with knowledge of the fraught minutes following the Rock slap. They claim that some Academy members expressed that they wanted Smith removed, but they also say that no formal or explicit ask was ever made.’
Deadline reports that Packer did speak to Smith along with Tyler Perry, Denzel Washington and Bradley Cooper.
But conflicting sources have differing opinions on what Packer did during the ensuing moments after the slap, with one source saying Packer told Smith to stay.
The Academy’s Board of Governors plans to convene April 18, which is when the Board of Governors will decide what kind of disciplinary actions to slap (pun not intended) Smith with.